As the conflict between Israel and Hamas intensifies in Southern Lebanon, the Lebanese Church, led by Father Michel Abboud, President of Caritas Lebanon, is actively involved in assisting the growing number of displaced individuals fleeing the crossfire.
In an interview with Vatican News, Father Abboud expressed deep concern over the escalating hostilities, emphasizing the severe consequences on a nation already grappling with an unprecedented socio-economic crisis.
“The situation will continue to have dramatic consequences for the nation, already reeling from an unprecedented socio-economic crisis,” Father Abboud said.
Thousands of men, women, and children have been forced to leave their homes in Southern Lebanon, seeking refuge in the capital, Beirut.
Father Abboud highlighted the challenging circumstances faced by these internally displaced people, emphasizing the need for comprehensive support.
“We have created reception centers to help them with the support of all the bishops and other religious authorities, and we have made every basic necessity available to them,” he said.
Caritas Lebanon is not only providing material aid but also offering spiritual support to help individuals cope with the trauma caused by the conflict.
“We are organizing moments of prayer and Masses” as part of their efforts to comfort those affected.
Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Béchara Boutros al-Rahi has personally visited the affected areas in Southern Lebanon, demonstrating the Church’s solidarity with those suffering.
Father Abboud conveyed the patriarch’s message, saying, “He went to visit the villages and to tell the inhabitants who remained that they are not alone, and the Church is beside them.”
For many, escaping to safer places is an unattainable luxury due to exacerbated poverty caused by the ongoing economic crisis. Father Abboud pointed out that skyrocketing prices make even a simple journey impossible for some individuals.
The priest recalled the recent vocal stance of the Bishops against the escalation of the conflict, echoing the sentiment of the Lebanese people. “Conflict only generates pain, anguish, and fear,” he said.